SAN DIEGO, Oct. 19, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MediciNova Inc, a biopharmaceutical company publicly traded on the Nasdaq Global Market (Nasdaq:MNOV) and the Jasdaq Market of the Osaka Securities Exchange (Code Number:4875), announced today that its novel macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF inhibitor) MN-166 program has been selected for inclusion on Windhover's list of the "Top 10 Most Interesting Neuroscience Projects to Watch."

Along with inclusion in the "Top 10 to Watch" list, MediciNova has been selected to present at Windhover's Therapeutic Area Partnerships meeting, on Wednesday afternoon, November 3rd, 2010, at the Westin Copley Place in Boston, MA. More information on the meeting can be found at www.tapartnerships.com .

MN-166 and certain analogues may represent a novel mechanism for the treatment of neurological diseases - they are potent MIF inhibitors and, secondarily, inhibitors of PDE 4 & 10. This combined action may afford CNS anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective actions.  MN-166 is being studied for potential treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic pain, and drug addiction.

"We are delighted that these respected industry experts have selected our MN-166 program as among the most promising candidates in the CNS field," said Yuichi Iwaki, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of MediciNova, Inc. Moreover, David Cassak, Vice President of Windhover, noted, "Selected companies have been screened using a strict set of judging criteria for the Top 10 award and represent what our committees considered the most attractive neuroscience opportunities the industry has to offer." He added: "Winners have met rigorous criteria, including: unmet medical need, market potential, diversity of indications, strong science, multi-level partnering opportunities (biotech and pharma), potential for new opportunities beyond initial indications and corporate stability."  

About MN-166

MediciNova's lead drug candidate for neurological conditions is ibudilast (MN-166/AV411). Ibudilast is marketed in Japan and South Korea for the treatment of asthma and cerebrovascular disorders for which MediciNova discovered its potential as a candidate for certain CNS disorders.  MN-166's target action is believed related to MIF inhibition and, secondarily, PDE-4 & -10 inhibition. MN-166 is an oral, once- or twice-daily formulation that is under U.S. IND, and has been used in more than 400 subjects in MediciNova Phase I and Phase II clinical trials at doses we believe relevant to continued development.  In these trials there were no clinically significant adverse events attributed to MN-166. The Phase II MS trial utilized a high dose which may have been suboptimal and which has been successfully exceeded.  Moreover, encouraging trends in a phase 1b/2a neuropathic pain trial have been observed.  MediciNova has exclusivity for ibudilast in the U.S. and elsewhere.   Multiple Sclerosis and Neuropathic Pain are the lead clinical development paths although we also have support (i.e. funding and investigator network) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for certain drug addiction indications.  The MN-166 program is enriched by a late-preclinical-staged follow-on oral, small molecule compound with recently-issued composition of matter IP.

Recent publication referencing MN-166 are as follows:

  1. Y. Cho et al., Allosteric inhibition of macrophage migration inhibitory factor revealed by ibudilast. PNAS USA, June 2010.
  2. R. Fox, Primary neuroprotection: The Holy Grail of multiple sclerosis therapy. Neurology, April 2010.
  3. P.Rolan, et al., Ibudilast : a review of its pharmacology, efficacy and safety in respiratory and neurological disease, Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, December, 2009.

About MediciNova

MediciNova, Inc. is a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company founded upon acquiring and developing novel, small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases with a commercial focus on the U.S. market. Through strategic alliances primarily with Japanese pharmaceutical companies, MediciNova holds rights to a diversified portfolio of clinical and preclinical product candidates, each of which MediciNova believes has a well-characterized and differentiated therapeutic profile, attractive commercial potential, and patent assets.  MediciNova's pipeline includes six clinical-stage compounds for the treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations, multiple sclerosis and other neurologic conditions, asthma, interstitial cystitis, solid tumor cancers, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, preterm labor and urinary incontinence and two preclinical-stage compounds for the treatment of thrombotic disorders. MediciNova's current strategy is to focus on its two prioritized product candidates, MN-221 for the treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations and Ibudilast (MN-166/AV411) for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, spinal cord injury, or drug addiction. Each drug candidate is involved in clinical trials under U.S. and Investigator INDs and MediciNova is engaged in strategic partnering discussions to support further development of the MN-221 and Ibudilast programs. Additionally, MediciNova will seek to monetize its other pipeline candidates. For more information on MediciNova, Inc., please visit www.MediciNova.com .

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Statements in this press release that are not historical in nature constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements regarding MediciNova's clinical trials supporting safety and efficacy of product candidates and the potential novelty of such product candidates as treatments for disease, plans and objectives for present and future clinical trials and product development, strategies, future performance, expectations, assumptions, financial condition, liquidity and capital resources. These forward-looking statements may be preceded by, followed by or otherwise include the words "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "estimates," "projects," "can," "could," "may," "will," "would," or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, include, but are not limited to, the risks and uncertainties inherent in clinical trials and product development and commercialization, such as the uncertainty in results of clinical trials for product candidates, the uncertainty of whether the results of clinical trials will be predictive of results in later stages of product development, the risk of delays or failure to obtain or maintain regulatory approval, the risk of failure of the third parties upon whom MediciNova relies to conduct its clinical trials and manufacture its product candidates to perform as expected, the risk of increased cost and delays due to delays in the commencement, enrollment, completion or analysis of clinical trials or significant issues regarding the adequacy of clinical trial designs or the execution of clinical trials and the timing, cost and design of future clinical trials and research activities, the timing of expected filings with the FDA, MediciNova's failure to execute strategic plans or strategies successfully, MediciNova's collaborations with third parties, MediciNova's ability to realize the anticipated strategic and financial benefits from its acquisition of Avigen, Inc., to integrate the two ibudilast development programs and to pursue discussions with potential partners to secure a strategic collaboration to advance the clinical development of the combined development program, the availability of funds to complete product development plans and MediciNova's ability to raise sufficient capital when needed, intellectual property or contract rights, and the other risks and uncertainties described in MediciNova's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 and its subsequent periodic reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K. Undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. MediciNova disclaims any intent or obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements.
CONTACT:  MediciNova, Inc.          Shintaro Asako, Chief Financial Officer          (858) 373-1500          info@medicinova.com

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